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The president can move the court firmly to the right with his selection, with the four finalists believed to be four appeals court judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman. Abortion will be a key issue in the confirmation process.

Judge Kavanaugh, 53, has been nominated to replace long-serving conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June at the age of 81. Rand Paul of Kentucky had expressed concerns but tweeted that he looked forward to meeting with Kavanaugh "with an open mind". He called Kavanaugh a "brilliant jurist" who has "devoted his life to public service".

While Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing will take place in the fall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already warned Trump that his nominee might have a hard confirmation battle over the other shortlisted candidates.

A fellow judge there, Maryanne Trump Barry, one of the president's sisters, reportedly has recommended him to her brother.

"My judicial philosophy is straightforward".

This is President Trump's second Supreme Court nominee. Any nominee to fill Kennedy's vacant seat would face the full scrutiny of the Democratic minority.

The pressure will be most intense on Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of IN, all of whom face tough re-election bids. Three Democratic senators who voted for Gorsuch - Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Joe Manchin of West Virginia - are up for re-election IN states Trump won handily IN 2016.

The White House invited a number of senators to attend the Monday night announcement, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and committee member Kennedy.

Back then, Trump's decision to summon both men to Washington, and his primetime TV special reveal seemed to shock some TV news talking heads and Supreme Court scholars not familiar with reality-TV tropes. In the press release, Casey went into detail about his differences with the Heritage Foundation's agenda and labeled them as an "extreme Right organization".

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, said on Twitter that the Senate must do everything in its power to stop "this destructive Supreme Court pick", adding civil liberties would be at stake.

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The US Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter on contentious laws and disputes between states and the federal government. "It should and must take place again now". He has ruled against voting rights.

Schumer and other Democrats have cited campaign statements Trump made to assert that any of the candidates Trump mulled would oppose abortion rights and the Obama-era health care law.

Anti-abortion-rights activists do not disagree.

Barrett, the only woman under consideration, has the support of Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and close Trump ally, who played golf with the president in New Jersey on Sunday.

Kennedy had voted to preserve the core principles of the high court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Kavanaugh is expected to meet in coming days with senators at their offices, going door-to-door in get-to-know-you sessions ahead of confirmation hearings.

The White House and Republican party want the nomination in the bag before November's mid-term elections. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who will be helping the nominee through the arduous confirmation process.

The executive editor of the Lawfare blog, Susan Hennessey, who is also a Brookings fellow in national security in governance studies, called it "completely weird that the president has imposed an artificial, TV ratings-driven deadline on such a consequential choice".

Trump asked senators to unite to bring about a swift confirmation.

Kavanaugh graduated from Yale Law School and served as a clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy.


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